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slapshot

What is icing?  How about high sticking?  If you don’t know, then you probably won’t be tuning in to the Stanley Cup Finals, which start tonight.  What’s the Stanley Cup?  Oh dear…. you might want to check out my recipes (see: cakes, icing).

The Stanley Cup, of course, is the championship playoffs of the NHL (National Hockey League).   As an avid sports fan who follows baseball, football, basketball and SportsCenter pretty religiously, I’ve always wondered why I never got in to hockey.  My father loved the Detroit Red Wings, my brother lovingly taught me and my sisters what a hip-check was, and I was fascinated by the players’ gorgeous skating during the one game I saw live.  But watching on TV?  Zzzzzzzzzz.

The one thing I do love about hockey, however, is the movie “Slap Shot.”  A raw and raunchy comedy from the late ’70’s, it stars Paul Newman in his oh-so-sexy prime, as the veteran coach/player of a downtrodden minor league hockey team (the Chiefs) who realizes that dirty play and fighting is what brings in the fans.  The roster of characters is priceless, especially the completely clueless Hanson brothers, three bespectacled goons who are so outlandish that if the movie came out today, they’d get their own spin-off. Having just seen it for the first time in years, I was struck by a) how Connie Britton/Tammy Taylor-ish Paul Newman’s wife is, b) they didn’t wear helmets in the ’70’s?!? and c) only Paul Newman could look manly in a long leather coat with fur trim. Oh, and for the umpteenth time, I pee’d my pants during the final (hockey) scene.  Don’t believe me?  Forget ESPN and the Yankees and the French Open tonight and check out this hilarious sports gem of a movie, eh?

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